Rubber boots and the flannel shirts come out for the season. Usually back to school means cool crisp mornings, school supplies and new shoes.  Funny how some things are so perennial.  When the season changes our routines change our wardrobe changes and our food changes. Going to the apple orchard is a weekend family outing we haven’t missed in 20 years.  This year has been unseasonably warm, today as I type this it’s 85 degrees.  This weekend we lucked out with a cool crisp day.  Mary was happy to dig out her Hunter boots and of course, stop at Starbucks for a Pumpkin Spiced latte.

With our apple haul at home I couldn’t wait to start baking. I’m making a French Apple Cake, one of my family’s favorites. It’s made with a combination of tart Granny Smith apples and sweet Braeburn or Golden Delicious apples for a variation of flavor that gives this cake a complex flavor.

Then, a simple Apple Crescent recipe for those hurried nights when you want a simple and delicious dessert that even the kids can make. (more…)

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Long gone are the days when the only mushrooms in the produce aisle were white button, portobello, or cremini. Many markets offer dozens of varieties, and many that were once available only seasonally are now farmed almost year-round.

Are you a mushroom person? It seems to be a divided camp when it comes to these tiny fungi. I grew up with them and so did my kids so they are comfort food in my house. My Mom put mushrooms in everything from holiday stuffing to weeknight dinner salads.

Whether cultivated or wild, common or rare, mushrooms are easy to prepare and add intense flavor to everything from soups, stews, and sauces to meats, stuffings, and egg dishes.

Today I’m making stuffed cedar plank smoked portobello mushrooms. The soaked cedar planks create a fragrant smoke when placed on the hot grill infusing the mushrooms with the most delicate flavor. (more…)

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This post is for my son Paul who is working hard to build his strength and agility for his work on stage.  He has some exciting opportunities ahead of him that require a great deal of athletic stamina.  These treats are perfect for him.❤️

Have you ever purchased protein or energy bars for your family only to be baffled by the list of ingredients?  The list often includes additives, preservatives and colors I can’t even pronounce.  Buying healthy snacks can be confusing.  Sometimes I feel like I need a chemistry degree to choose wisely.

These wholesome balls, packed with quality ingredients, stay together, pack well in school lunches and give you good calories that will sustain your energy.  I like to play with this recipe from time to time.  If you use only ground flax seed the balls will be more creamy like a cookie dough and not as “seedy” as my kids say. I find it still holds together well.   I like the seeds because it gives it a more dense chewy texture.  Try it different ways and find your favorite. This one has a combo of dark chocolate discs and dark chocolate chips. I’m often a little heavy handed with the chocolate.  Life’s too short not to be!

What simple ingredients are in these amazing, portable, healthy snacks? (more…)

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Heinen’s and 365Barrington asked me to create a post about a picnic.  We’ve had such a wonderful beach focused summer that all my thoughts went directly to a beach picnic. There’s nothing better on a lazy summer afternoon than a picnic at the shore.  Although beach picnics are lovely and magical, they can also be a bit problematic to pull off. You have to think about how to keep sand from getting into everything. You have to pack well enough so that it’s easy to lug everything around, and you also have to deal with wind. However, if you find just the right spot and set down a few ground rules (mostly about kicking up sand) a picnic on the beach can be amazing.
Meals at the beach are easier to accomplish than you think, (more…)

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One of my favorite cookbooks on my bookshelf is titled “Plenty” by Chef Yotam Ottolenghi. I was first drawn to it by the beautiful photography but after thumbing through the pages I soon realized that the holistic nature of the foods he prepares is in exact keeping with how I want to eat and how I want to feed my family. The recipe I’m making today is a slightly altered one that he and Chef Sami Tamimi prepared together for a 2014 bon appétit feature. I now have three of his cookbooks and have made many of his dishes. Yotam seems to be a master at catching food at the peak of it’s season and highlighting the natural flavors to bring out the best in its natural simplicity. This Fried Eggplant, Tomato and Cucumber Salad is one of our new favorites. (more…)

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